Skin in the game: Common skin problems and solutions for men
As a junior varsity basketball player in high school, it wasn’t surprising that I developed an itchy, flaky case of athlete’s feet. As an “athlete,” I thought it was a result of my hard work and dedication.
My mother shocked me when she told me that it wasn’t my dribbling abilities but my poor foot hygiene.
After almost 40 years, I am much more conscientious about my skincare. I still have skin problems, just like many men. You can learn about two common skin problems, their solutions, and how to avoid them.
Scaly patches, itching and general dryness can characterize dry skin. Dry skin can occur at any time of the year, from the intense heat of the summer to the cold of the winter. The sun damages the skin and makes it thinner, making it less able to retain moisture. Aging skin produces fewer natural oils to keep it lubricated.
Scientists have proven that low-grade chronic inflammation can become a silent killer, contributing to heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases. Harvard Medical School experts offer simple tips on how to combat inflammation and remain healthy.
A moisturizer is the best way to treat dry skin. It softens, smoothes, and conditions skin using water and lipids. Some moisturizers draw water to the skin and then seal it. Some moisturizers prevent moisture loss by coating the skin with an impermeable, thick layer.
- Petroleum jelly. This greasy, waxy substance prevents water loss without blocking pores. It is available as a standalone product, but it’s also used in many moisturizers or ointments. Petroleum jelly does not contain water, so it is best applied while the skin still has moisture after bathing.
- Mineral oil. Mineral oil is the same but does not leave a greasy residue. Use it while the skin is still damp.
- These products are moisturizing creams and lotions. These products are a combination of water and oil. These products are less greasy and have a more appealing cosmetic appearance than oils or petroleum jelly. It would be best if you looked for moisturizers that contain at least one ingredient from the list below: glycerin urea sorbitol pyroglutamic lactic acid sorbitol sorbitol glycerin urea pyroglutamic lactic acid salts or alpha-hydroxy acids.
The following is a list of preventions.
Changes you can make to prevent dry skin include:
- A humidifier can be used to add moisture to the air, or you can place a pan filled with water on top of the radiator.
- Use lukewarm or warm water in the shower and bath (hot water will dry out the skin because it strips the natural oils from the skin).
- Nondrying soaps without irritants or abrasives are best. Super-fatted or cleansing bars will be less drying than liquid or antibacterial soaps.
- Apply jelly, oil, or moisturizer right after showering or bathing to retain the moisture your skin absorbs.
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection caused by dermatophytes. The most common symptoms are intense itching, cracking, blistering, or peeling skin, particularly between the toes, and redness and scales on the soles.
The fungus thrives in moist, warm environments such as showers, locker rooms, and pools where people are walking barefoot. They thrive in the warm, humid environments of sweaty shoes and socks.
Try an over-the-counter antifungal cream, ointment, or powder if you have athlete’s feet. These include clotrimazole, terbinafine, Silka, or Lamisil AT. An infection can last for weeks, and it is common to have recurrences. Consult your doctor if symptoms do not improve within a few weeks. He may prescribe antifungal tablets.
The following is a list of preventions.
Keep your feet clean and dry to avoid athlete’s foot. Do the following as well:
- After a bath or shower, wash your feet thoroughly and wear clean socks.
- After bathing, showering, or swimming, dry your feet completely (including each toe and, in particular, the webspace between the toes).
- Flip-flops and sandals are appropriate for public swimming pools, gym locker rooms, and showers.
- Wear moisture-wicking socks to absorb sweat.
- Do not wear the same pair of shoes twice a week. Allow shoes to dry and air out for 24 hours between wearings.